BOOK CLUB: Paperbark Hill

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Paperbark Hill by Australian author Maya Linnell is the fourth and final book in the McIntyre Sisters series. 

Diana McIntyre, a single mum of four boys; Cameron, Elliott, Harry, and Leo are adjusting to life after the death of her husband Pete.  It had been eighteen months and as a parent, her main concern was her boys while managing her own grief. Being surrounded by her sisters and father with their love and care she did not underestimate just how much support they were giving in such difficult circumstances. 

Owning a flower farm has always been Diana’s dream, with encouragement from her family and guidance from an elderly dahlia expert Colin she feels as though nothing is impossible and strives at flourishing in the industry. 

Ned Gardiner, a locum pharmacist likes to roam from place to place with his children Willow and Doug living a nomadic life. When he hears of his father’s tragedy he returns home to Colin’s farm in Victoria to sort out the estate.  He had not been home in some time and was not sure what to expect.  Upon his arrival, he meets Diana and learns that his father had been giving her guidance with her flower farm.

Diana asks Ned to help her in the fields and with a big event, she is impressed with his knowledge of plants and his kind nature. With time spent together, a friendship grows not only between the two but also between their children. Ned never stayed in one place for long, but he saw his young children flourish in the small and prosperous community.  When his feelings towards Diana became deeper he saw himself staying. 

Finding a new love in your forties sometimes seems impossible, especially with children and carrying past trauma, I thoroughly enjoyed the slow burn basing their relationship on trust and consideration regarding their circumstances.  The connection felt genuine and not overdone.

I loved the blended family storyline as they all learnt to adapt to each other’s idiosyncrasies and hardships.  Diana’s eldest, Cameron is hesitant to embrace Ned for fear of her forgetting their father. It showed the vulnerable side of the children’s insecurities of anger, sadness, worry, and threats of stability. Both Diana and Ned played a very important support role, working together on applying family cohesion and boundaries and having a strong foundation for everyone’s happiness. 

Maya Linnell makes you feel like you are there as the story unfolds, you can easily picture yourself in the daily lives of the characters.  I could not think of anything more splendid than working on a flower farm, the scenery comes alive with descriptive writing as you Immerse yourself in a rural experience

This isn’t a fast-paced story, but it is filled with emotion and drama. Paperbark Hill is a quiet journey from heartache and despair to love and happiness and I’m thrilled to have travelled that journey with a wonderful cast of characters.  

Bottlebrush Creek, Wildflower Ridge, Magpie’s Bend, and Paperbark Hill can all be read independently but I find it nice to read every book as characters intertwine with storylines. 

I thank Maya for such a wonderful series, she has such an exceptional skill at writing about the intricacies of relationships, whether they be romantic, familial, or friendship. Her novels focus on the inner workings of women and how everything in their lives leads them to exactly where they are, whether they like it or not.  

Each novel was beautifully written, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey each McIntyre Sister has taken. I cannot wait for future novels. 

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and review. 

A selection of our members are reading Paperbark Hill by Maya Linnell. You can read their reviews below, or add you own comments.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Paperbark Hill

  1. Books written with heart is how I would sum up Maya Linnell’s writing style. Stories that make you feel and connect with her characters and the rural towns she writes about – I can vividly see these stories come alive in my mind.

    I love the McIntyre Sisters and the whole series of books with four in total – Penny’s story in Wildflower Ridge that started it all, Angie in Bottlebrush Creek and Lara in Magpie’s Bend, and finally Diana in Paperbark Hill.

    Paperbark Hill tells the story of Diana and her four boys who are still coming to terms with Pete passing away unexpectedly – Diana’s love and the boy’s Father. Eighteen months have passed and Diana’s dream of starting her own flower farm is becoming a reality with the assistance of a local flower expert Colin.

    Ned Gardiner is unexpectedly bought back to town due to his Father’s unexpected death, he lives a life on the road with his children doing locum stints as a pharmacist. He never stays anywhere for long.

    When Diana and Ned meet, a friendship forms – they are both grieving in different ways could they have a chance of happiness??

    This book highlights grief, addiction, blended families, and the issues faced by the flower growers in Australia, I actually even shared with a local Flower Farm owner who I know, some of the points raised in the book like the grown not flown movement and the labeling of flowers with the country of origin as she has been lobbying for these changes for many years.

    When you read one of Maya’s novels there are glimpses of some of her real-life passions and in this book, it is her love of flowers especially dahlias, and her dream of one day running her own flower farm. I highly recommend following her on Instagram her posts are just delightful.

    I was sad this was the final one in this series but excited to see what Maya brings us next.

  2. Maya Linnell’s Paperbark Hill oozes country charm.

    Set in rural Australia on an up-and-coming flower farm, readers will enjoy the story of Diana and Ned, and how they are individually battling to overcome issues in their past around family and grief.

    Both Diana and Ned have children and it was enjoyable to read a romance that wasn’t about young, single city-slickers!

    Although it was a touch predictable, it’s an easy to read, modern Australian tale that leaves you feeling optimistic, light and happy.

    I would recommend it to those who like Australian authors or romantic novels.

    This is my second McIntyre sisters book – I know I will be reading the other two soon.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this delightful book.

  3. Wow, this story is one of those reads where you settle down with a cuppa, start reading and then suddenly you are totally absorbed in the storyline. It captures your attention from the first page and so hard to put down.

    It’s truely a beautiful captive story about estrangements, trusts, losing loved ones and romance and is a rural Australian storyline, my favourite.

    The cover of the book is so beautiful and I see that the actual flowers are from Maya’s own garden on her property.

    Maya the author has written before about the McIntyre sisters and family and for me this stands out as my favourite of the sisters being Diana and her family and life.

    As I follow Maya on her website, I could visual her place through the book and there are no nasty horrible characters in this storyline. Every character is amazing in their own right. It is so easy to warm to them all and I like the humour Maya adds to her writing as well.

    Diana runs a successful flower farm and has 4 boys when she meets Ned who has two children of his own. Their story, you know what is going to happen but you need to read to see how they get together. This is where you read and read and turn those pages to find out more.

    I found the antics of all the kids so funny but loving at the same time. Willow caught my attention so much.

    When I was reading Diana and all the baking she does, I thought of Maya as I know she is a great baker as well.

    It was towards the end of the book that I actually had tears and got a little choked due to Diana’s son Cam saying something to Ned. I become so engrossed with my reading that I actually feel like I am in the book and know all the characters so well.

    If you love Australian rural stories, then this book should be in your hands. Highly recommend.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin, another beautiful book to have read. I loved this book so much.

  4. Maya Linnell’s new novel Paperbark Hill is set in country Victoria this romance focuses on Diana McIntyre a young widow with four boys, she is just establishing a flower farm on their property, but she is also still grieving the loss of her husband.
    Ned Gardiner is a single dad who has spent many years travelling around Australia with his kids, he just can’t settle in one place. When his father’s sudden death happens, he returns to the family home. There are connections which bring him into close encounters with Diana and while they are attracted to each other there are obstacles in their way. They are both dealing with grief and family issues and constraints.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, the setting is very picturesque, the characters engaging and the issues the main characters are dealing with are sadly what many people have to go through. They have to work out a way through dealing with grief, relatives with addiction and balance the needs of their children with their own.
    Thank you to Beauty & Lace book club and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this novel.

  5. Thank you for Paperbark Hill by Maya Linnell.

    This is a rural romance, of a type that I would read all the time.

    Diana McIntyre has four sons, one a teenager and the other three younger. She has a flower farm she is trying to make a living from and relies on a local mentor. Ned Gardiner, and his younger son and daughter, comes back to Bridgefield after the death of his father to sort his affairs and then he’s off to his next destination. When Ned ends up helping Diane sparks fly although there is so much to deal with. With a larger family, estranged mother, grief, competing priorities and so many similarities will they be able to work things out or give up?

    I loved the way this book flowed, good and bad equally easily. It was in a series of books, but not having read the others yet this wasn’t an issue. I will be searching those others out shortly. The flowers were a wonderful addition to the book, I could almost picture them and their amazing scents. I would highly recommend this book and have found another great Australian author.

  6. Paperbark Hill by Maya Linnell is an easy to read, hard to put down novel. The first Maya Linnell novel I have ready, but I loved her writing style, the unfolding of the main storyline and interweaving lives of the characters who really came to life for me.
    The rural setting is so well described I could picture it in my mind and almost feel like I know the town of Bridgefield in western Victoria and the farms of the main characters Diana McIntyre and Ned Gardiner.
    Diana, well known and loved, is raising her four sons alone after her husband suddenly passed away 18 months earlier. She has embarked on a project to develop her flower farm and relies on the help of a knowledgeable local, Colin Gardiner, to make it all work. Sadly Colin died suddenly after having an accident on his farm and a series of events following this results in his son Ned taking over this role. Ned is a locum pharmacist with itchy feet, used to taking short term contracts all over the countryside and travelling with his two young children. Being back in Bridgefield is not what he wants, at first, and certainly not when he realises his estranged mother lives on the farm, but this all changes.
    Lots of complexities and real life issues – grief and loss, broken relationships, raising children as a sole parent and ultimately unfolding love and healing – are interwoven into the storyline. The characters are realistic and likeable and I was sorry when I got the end of the book.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and review Paperbark Hill. I highly recommend this novel and am looking forward to getting hold of Maya Linnell’s other books to read also.

  7. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
    The story is all about Diana and her four sons after passing of her husband. The way all the characters interact with each other and story flows while they are on their road trip to their countryside and how storyline unfolds in the rural setting.
    Its a rural romance but its also more than that, I loved this book and would love to read other books in the series.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for my opportunity to read and review Maya Linnell’s Paperbark Hill.

    From the moment I picked it up I was hooked and couldn’t wait to read about Diana and Ned’s journey. This book did not disappoint I love the way Maya depicts her characters and the beautiful storyline. Drama, heartache and love always make a great book.

    After reading the acknowledgments I love finding out about the front cover being her own special photos of her garden. It makes it extra special.

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